I ended the article last week with these words “In all formats, Dallas is worth taking if you have them. If not, you must use some game theory and avoid Cincinnati.” That wound up working out well. The only problem was who you may have used to get off of Cincinnati. Both Buffalo and Baltimore suffered tough losses and may have knocked 5-10% of people out of your pool on top of the 30-35% Cincinnati destroyed. If you avoided those landmines and are still alive in your pool you should be in a pretty good position. For some in smaller pools you may be wanting to look toward hedging from here on out.
- Win Projection: I calculate win probability based on each game’s mid-point of the money line.
- FV (Future Value): This value comes from look-ahead lines. Lower numbers indicate more future value for a team.
- Pick%: This shows how frequently a team is selected across major websites, according to survivorgrid.com.
- # Unique teams: If you have multiple entries, you can decide how many teams to spread your risk across.
We are now in week 11 of the season. The future value of teams becomes less critical as the future is now. But we still want to look out a few weeks, depending on the pool size, to make sure we are picking teams optimally. First, let’s look at the spreadsheet for Future Values 0, 25, and 50.
When we look at no future value the teams with the greatest chance to win are always the best plays.
This week, Miami is the team most likely to win, but it’s possible that you can’t choose them. San Francisco would be the next best option, but many people might have already used them as well. Dallas is also a good choice if you haven’t used them yet, but they might not be available to everyone. That leaves us with Washington and Detroit, and together they are being picked in about 45-50% of pools.
If you’re in a small pool and can pick a team with an 80% or higher chance of winning, I suggest doing so. Miami would be my top choice because they have the best chance of winning. However, it’s important to keep checking the latest information before your pool locks in case anything changes. Also, in the upcoming weeks when Miami is a big favorite, you might have other good options. It’s hard to give advice that fits everyone, so check survivorgrid.com to see what’s best for your situation.
San Francisco would be my next best pick. They are not available to most people, but if you have them, they are worth playing this week. They’ll be a big favorite in Week 14 against Arizona, but if you didn’t pick Cincinnati last week, you can choose the Bengals then.
If you still have Dallas available and didn’t pick them last week, now might be a good time to do so, especially if you have no other good options. They play Washington next week, and many people will likely pick Detroit, so it could be a good fade. The other option next week is New England, so if you have to pick Dallas this week, you’ll still have a decent choice with New England, just not as strong as Dallas.
Many of you are likely considering either Washington or Detroit for your pick this week. If Washington is an option for you, that’s the preferable choice. We’ll find other opportunities to choose Detroit later on. For Washington, this is the only week we’d recommend picking them. They’re a good choice for pools of all sizes, especially in larger ones. We usually aim to go against the most popular choice when possible, but if we can’t do that with one of the teams with an 80% or higher chance of winning, and we have Washington, we can’t avoid picking them. In that case, we’ll have to rely on hoping that more than 20% of people get eliminated if the Lions lose to the Bears.
I also like Jacksonville over Detroit. With a 72% chance of winning their game, they still give us a decent chance to advance without costing much in future value. We won’t consider Jacksonville again until week 17, but it’s too early to predict the NFL landscape with injuries happening every week.
This week, we’re not really looking at teams that are only 3 or 4 point favorites unless you have no other options. Most of you should be able to pick a fairly strong team. The one team we want to steer clear of is Detroit, not because they won’t win this week, but because we have other teams with similar or even higher win probabilities to choose from. Having Detroit in our back pocket will be valuable in the future.
Ultimately, you have to decide how you will play your pool. Hopefully, you will be around for many weeks with me as we try and survive!